Ncuti Gatwa will take over from Jodie Whittaker in “Doctor Who,” the BBC has announced, putting an end to speculation about the next regeneration of the iconic Time Lord.
“Sometimes talent walks through the door and it’s so bright and bold and brilliant, I stand in awe and thank my lucky stars,” returning showrunner Russell T Davies said in the broadcaster’s release.
“Ncuti blinded us, grabbed the doctor and had those TARDIS keys in seconds.”
Gatwa, whose first name is pronounced SHOO-tee, currently stars in Netflix’s high school comedy drama “Sex Education” as the bubbly Eric Effiong, who is openly gay but comes from a very religious family.
Rwandan-born, Scotland-raised Gatwa, 29, will be the first black actor to head the quintessential British sci-fi show, but he won’t be the first black doctor — Jo Martin played “Fugitive Doctor” in several episodes.
Whittaker became the 13th Doctor — and the first woman to play the central galaxy-hopping, alien Time Lord who regenerates into new bodies — in 2017, when she took the helm from Peter Capaldi. Her final episode of “Doctor Who” is expected to air later this year.
The original “Doctor Who” series ran from 1963 to 1989. Since the show was revived in 2005, the Doctor has been played by Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith, alongside Capaldi and Whittaker. Other stars, such as Karen Gillan and Billie Piper, have made a name for themselves on the show as the Doctor’s “companion.”
“This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will do my very best to do the same,” the release quoted Gatwa – who described his emotions as “a mix of deeply honoured, over-excited and, of course, a little scared” – as stated.
In addition to the start of Gatwa’s tenure, next year also marks Davies’ return to “Doctor Who” after more than a decade of absence.
“Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the doctor himself and being able to work with him is a dream come true,” said Gatwa.
The writer and producer led the reboot until 2009 and worked on shows like “A Very English Scandal” and “It’s A Sin” in the meantime. He promises a “spectacular” 2023.
“Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart, but I give it all to this show,” Gatwa added.